Friday, November 28, 2008

Happy Birthday, Princess

Our baby princess turned three today! It is so hard to believe it has been three years since she rushed into our world and our hearts! She has changed our world more than we can express! You may remember she is the first girl born into the Nelson family line for at least 125 years, and she wears her responsibility well. While we are scared to death about what we're doing, we are proud to have her as ours. She is well suited to be the only girl between two brothers!

She is really such a sweet little girl! When she woke up from her nap today, I was essentially done with her cake. When she saw it she exclaimed, "Thank you, mama! Thank you for my princess cake!" So here is the princess cake for my princess...
(This is the Pampered Chef doll cake recipe, but I totally cheated. You're suppose to use two cakes to make a dress tall enough for a barbie, but I didn't want that much cake around for the next two weeks, so I cut a hole in a paper plate and bowl to stick her feet through and put them on a cup to give it more height, then hot glued the ribbon around the bowl. I drew most of my inspiration from my sister Judy, who never met a crafty project she couldn't conquer! The model was very patient with me as I worked on her dress and kept her hands in the air for a very long time!)

She opted for a menu of macaroni and cheese for supper. We splurged and bought the "expensive" shells and cheese. I am glad for my kids' simple taste in meals when I have been working on a cake all day!

Here is the bag of rocks that Reed got for Ashton. He went with Ryan to a museum for a movie last week and knew he had to get these pretty rocks for her. Ryan tried to convince him to go with something like a book, but Reed stuck with the rocks. He was so excited! When Ryan was getting out the gifts before supper, Reed called back, "Would you bring out the rocks for her!" Then he covered his mouth in shock! We just ignored it so she wouldn't notice (and, of course, she didn't!), but he was so horrified that he had said that! He'd worked so hard at hiding them and keeping them a secret all week.
And then we had the bear chair (which arrived safely on Wednesday, thank you, Lands' End) as the grand finale. She was very excited to have her own "hippo" (Reed's is a hippo), so after the cake we broke it in with a movie. It is very soft and has a tiny fuzzy blanket that matches.
Then I had to figure out how to put candles on that cake without torching the princess' hair. We were successful, and she delighted in blowing them out!
So we have made it through Thanksgiving and Birthday without the baby showing up! We would like to get our carpet installed next week, if that also fits into his schedule. I have noticed less heartburn in recent days, so...we'll see.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Hooray for Lands' End!!

I promised the customer service of Lands' End that I would post this experience on my blog. I want to encourage good customer service whenever I can!

We ordered a gift last week for Ashton's birthday. We had been shopping for a soft chair of some sort that compares to Reed's hippo chair that he loves so much (and that they have started fighting over)! We finally landed on a cute flower one from Lands' End, because it was cute and they could get it here in time. It was about the same price as others we had found.

It arrived last Thursday--in a box about 12"x 18"x 4". Though I am not a math whiz, I could see that this was not all of it, and assumed the insert would be shipped later. Some companies had mentioned this, although I could not remember seeing that for this one. So on Friday I emailed an inquiry about when the insert would be shipped. On Saturday I got a response that was apologetic for the misunderstanding, but said I had ordered only the COVER of the bean bag--the insert would be 60 dollars more (for which they offered free shipping)!!!

Well, needless to say I was a bit irked and got on the site again. The item I had ordered was called the "Flower Bean Bag," and underneath it was the insert that could be ordered as part of my set. I mustered up all the niceness I could find and wrote them back. While I was pretty steamed, they had set such a reasonable tone with their first response, I felt they were due this respect.

To make this long story a bit shorter, I will be getting a cuddly bear chair (in pink) delivered to my door by Wednesday (Friday--the b-day itself--at the latest) without me having to pay any shipping, even the shipping upgrade! And I can return the cover I got to the Sears store and not be charged shipping on that return either!

So check out for some of you holiday shopping! I know there are a lot of expensive items there (like the bean bag and cover SET) but there are some reasonable things there, too. While I feel like the mistake was theirs in the first place, they really did all they could to make me it right and talk (& write) to me with respect. I applaud their customer service reps!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Reed's thoughts on presents this Christmas

"We are going to have the most hu-nor-mous Christmas present we have ever had. Well, not really hu-nor-mous, but the best Christmas present we have ever had. It's the baby!!!! That's going to be the best Christmas gift ever........."

(brief moment of thought)

"........I mean, you can still get us other gifts, too...."


After Ryan got out of bed this morning, I built a wonderful cocoon with all the pillows and blankets in the middle of the bed. Then I settled in for another snooze.

Unfortunately, I was awakened and pulled out of it prematurely by breakfast seekers. I did not emerge a beautiful butterfly, but rather a fat, grumpy caterpillar...

Monday, November 10, 2008

Eyefire, America

So I have wanted to write a follow-up to the election, but a combination of internet outage, busy-ness, and exhaustion have won out until now. But time has probably been a good clairifyer of thought, so I hope this will resonate with you, weather you agree or disagree.

What We Have Learned

Color matters more than we wish it did. If Obama does nothing else (do we dare to hope?), he has enfranchised the African-American voters. I believe there were many new voters who had never felt like they had a reason to vote until now. This is sad for many reasons, but perhaps this election will make voting more of a priority in citizens' lives in the future. The disappointing part about this is that it seems many voters chose Obama based mainly on the color of his skin, and not the content of his character. But perhaps this is simply a baby step we must take to progress--a step backwards to move forward.

Women have not come as far as we had hoped. It became obvious with Sarah Palin that people (even women!) would do anything possible to undercut a strong woman who holds to conservative values. The things said about her in the "journalistic" media were downright despicable! She was attacked at every turn (even now by her own party!) and has handled herself with grace and poise with every cut. Her family was attacked and brought under more scrutiny than any of the other candidates, who, I suppose, just happened to be male. What we have learned is that liberal women do not have the so-called glass ceiling, but we backwoods conservative women have to know our stuff better than most, because the rug will be pulled out from under us by someone.

If they hear it enough, they will believe it. Voters were fed a distorted truth. I know that money played a big part. Each candidate tried to sell his "truth" to the public, and with the help of the media bias, the richer candidate won out. Not only did Obama have the Hollywood money to buy advertisement at every turn, but he had the Hollywood elite and liberal "mainstream" media touting his messiah-ship everywhere. I suggest we just get rid of all political commercials as an uninformed voter seems less dangerous than a misinformed voter.

HEY REPUBLICAN PARTY, WE WANT A CONSERVATIVE! As much as Obama rallied African-American voters, McCain disenfranchised the conservative voter. I know of too many voters who just didn't vote because they didn't want McCain as much as they didn't want Obama. This is undermining our two-party system that ironically makes Washington work. The only thing I learned from one of my government classes in college was that an inefficient government is the result of, and/or possibly the cause of, a free society! I fear the efficiency of the liberal democrats with control of the three branches of government! In effect, McCain was the third-party candidate who undermined the Republican party. We did it to ourselves! (Don't look at me; I voted for Ron Paul--in June, mind you, when it was all over.)

We are not getting the right lessons from history. You might be able to blame it on the agenda of public schools, but nonetheless, Americans know very little about the right parts of their own history! I have been faced with my lack of knowledge of certain events in the recent political season and I intend to fix it! I mean, what was the Vietnam War really about and why did it end so poorly for us? What did Carter et. al. do to make our economy such a mess in the 70's? And what did Reagan do to fix it so well? What was the Iran Contra affair all about? Anyone? Might we perhaps be able to avoid such mistakes in the future by studying up on these things? Isn't that the whole point of studying history?

There's something wrong with the church. Unfortunately I can't pinpoint what just yet. But it seems with such a polarization between young, hip Christians, and old-school Christians, there has been a breakdown somewhere. Is the church looking to government to cover our mishandling of the widows and orphans? Are we trying to influence the government to mandate the Christian values we hold important to make things easier on us? I don't know. Should we ignore our Christian values and truly separate church and state? Tough questions that we would rather avoid.

What We Will Learn

Democrats will be Democrats. Even though Obama ran on some conservative platforms and claims to be a center right politician, he is a Democrat, and his party will carry him to do liberal things. Perhaps he won't like it, I can't say. But he chose to join the democratic party for a reason.

Our country was set up with a strong system to correct itself. I do believe that our founding fathers set up a good system of government. Even thought I am a cynic, and believe that system will be tested to the fullest in the coming years, I hope and believe freedom will win out!

God is the God who doesn't CHANGE! Though we may not understand what he is doing and (thankfully) do not know the future, God is the same yesterday, today, and forever! Amen and amen!